The Seven Very Best Places to Eat in Holland, Michigan

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The Seven Very Best Places to Eat in Holland, Michigan

Are you planning a trip to Holland, Michigan?  Or are you new in town and need to find a great place to eat?  We have some of the very best places to eat in Holland, Michigan!  My husband and I love to eat out.  We’re kind of pros at it, it seems.  Since we love our hometown and love to have visitors, I would like to share you with our seven favorite places to find something to eat around town!

Every spring, Holland, Michigan, comes alive with the excitement of Tulip Time.  We love to indulge in some good junk food from the junk food carts that show up all around town.  But After Tulip Time is over and the lazy summer days along the lakeshore begin, we need to find other places to eat, and so do the many visitors that come into town to enjoy our fabulous beaches!  If you are lucky enough to be one of them, you’ll need to know where you can find a good meal.  Here are the seven very best places to eat in Holland, Michigan!  These are the places where you’ll find the locals.  They’re just that good!  Let’s count them down.

Seventh Best Place to Eat in Holland, MI

Sperry Movie and Dinner House is relatively new in Holland’s downtown landscape.  Located on the Southside of the far West end of 8th Street, Sperry makes my family’s list of best places to eat in Holland because it is also a theater!  My family loves to see movies!  Sometimes I will even sneak my middle school kid out of school to treat ourselves to a midday movie.  Shhh.  Don’t tell his teachers!

At Sperry, you can order your ticket and your dinner at the same time.  The helpful wait staff will bring your food right to you in the theater once you’re seated.  Our favorite in-movie meals are custom-made pizzas and burgers.  The seats inside the theater have small, retractable tables at each theater seat, so you don’t have to worry about juggling food in your lap.

Not a fan of eating a meal while you watch your movie?  Don’t worry!  You can still get all of your favorite theater snacks such as popcorn, soda, and candy instead of a whole meal.  Snacks are always available.  Don’t miss the edible cookie dough for a unique treat.  Boy, is it good!  The best movie treat combo is a little of everything, so go crazy and have it all!  We’ve done it!

If you’re not a big movie-watcher but still want a delicious and unique meal, then Sperry can still fit the bill for you.  They have a full-service restaurant and bar on the upper floor, easily reached by elevator or escalator.  You can order that delightful cookie dough for a dessert in the restaurant, too!  Yum!  The best part of dining in is that you can snag a table in the window and watch the foot traffic pass by on the street below while you dine!

Sixth Best Place to Eat in Holland, MI

El Rancho is the next favorite on my family’s list!  Lucky for us, there are two locations of El Rancho Mexican Restaurant in Holland, one on the Northside of town, and one on the Southside.  Both share the same charming atmosphere and brightly-colored décor.  The staff are mostly all Latinx servers and cooks, so if you speak Spanish, here’s the perfect place to get your practice on!

My son, Tucker, is in Spanish immersion, and now that he’s in seventh grade, he can converse pretty fluently in Spanish.  We always enjoy listening to him chit-chat with the waiters while we’re there.  I love that they are all super friendly and willing to help him with his Spanish.  The food you will get at El Rancho is authentic Mexican food, not the Americanized version of big chain restaurants.  Holland has a thriving Latinx community, so it’s lovely to have that community represented with authentic food and a real Mexican meal experience.

El Rancho food items - sixth best place to eat in Holland MI
Photo courtesy of https://www.elranchoholland.com

If you’re lucky enough to be here around your birthday, be sure and order some fried ice cream for your birthday dessert.  No telling what kind of surprises you might receive in addition to the dish!  I mean – besides the giant sombrero and the servers boldly singing Feliz Cumpleanos in Espanol!

Fifth Best Place to Eat in Holland, MI

Before Covid took over our lives (and our dining options), HopCat joined downtown Holland’s dining landscape.  Located downtown on 8th street, HopCat boasts a roll-up wall on the East side to allow diners to eat inside or out when the weather is just right!

Hop Cat is a Michigan chain restaurant known for its famous beer-battered French fries, formerly known as “Crack Fries.”  They have been renamed because drug addiction is not a joke.  So now you can have a taste of HopCat’s famous “Cosmik Fries” as a side with your burger or sandwich.  No matter what they choose to call them, you will find it hard to stop at just one!  Go ahead and order those fries loaded while you’re there.  It’s worth the calories!  I promise!  Also while you’re there, treat yourself to a Michigan-brewed beer from the bar! 

Photo courtesy of usatoday.com

Fourth Best Place to Eat in Holland, MI

The New Holland Brewery is a personal favorite of mine, not only for the excellent food they serve but also for their superb craft brews, made right in house!  My husband’s company has produced a whole lot of parts for New Holland’s brewery system.  During the early days of Covid in 2020, New Holland converted their brew facility to make hand sanitizer by the gallon, and my husband was busy in his shop producing a whole set of new parts for that endeavor.  If New Holland didn’t have our loyalty before, they certainly do now!  And I’m proud that my husband played a role in that, however small it might have been.

If you have lunch or dinner at New Holland, don’t be afraid to bring your kiddos with you.  New Holland is one of my favorite places for the kiddos because their kids’ menu includes a small bites plate with apple slices, crackers, cheese, and a few meat bites.  It’s original and so much more fun than a plain old chicken finger meal, don’tcha think?

My husband will tell you his favorite part of New Holland Brewery is their Dragonsmilk Brew.  He loves it so much he wants to decorate his man cave with the logo.  I’ll be the first to say it’s a cool logo, but I have made no final decision about using it in my home décor.  For now, he’s content to drink the Dragonsmilk.  His other favorite treat is called a Dead Poet.  A Dead Poet is equal parts Dragonsmilk mixed with another New Holland fave, Poet Stout.  Give it a try when you’re there.  Tell them Dan recommends it!

Now I would be remiss if I did not mention just how much we loved the New Holland Bloody Mary Bar.  Before Covid changed our lives, you could enjoy a most unique self-made Bloody Mary experience on Saturdays and Sundays.  Your server would bring your vodka of choice on ice.  You would then visit the bar build your own perfect Bloody Mary.  The bar boasted three tomato mixes, an assortment of spices and salts, olives, pickles, cheese bites, salami slices, pearl onions, and just about anything else you could imagine.  If you like a good Bloody Mary, then you would definitely like this experience.  Due to Covid and restaurant restrictions in Michigan, the Bloody Mary Bar is currently not available.  However, here’s hoping they’ll bring it back just as soon as they are able!

Finally, I must mention that if you are looking for a vegan dining option, New Holland is the place for you with several delicious options from which to choose!

Outside view of New Holland Brewery - fourth best place to eat in Holland MI
Photo courtesy of Tripadvisor.com

Third Best Place to Eat in Holland, MI

For a unique, on the water dining experience, check out Boatwerks Restaurant near Kollen Park, just a short distance from downtown Holland.  Boatwerks is located right on the shore of Lake Macatawa.  When the weather cooperates, you can eat on the patio and enjoy the summer view of the lake.  You can also pull up by boat and dock right out front for a unique opportunity to dine.

Known for its delicious New American fare, Boatwerks also has unbeatable service.  You will not be disappointed in this high-quality and delightful dining experience!

If you are looking for a destination event, then you will be happy to know that Boatwerks also offers several rooms for event reservations.  A wedding or corporate party at Boatwerks is not to be missed!

Patio Seating with sun shade for Boatwerks - the sixth best place to eat in holland mi
Photo courtesy of boatwerksrestaurant.com

Second Best Place to Eat in Holland, MI

Fricano’s Pizza Tavern has a rich history in Holland’s neighboring town of Grand Haven.  Holland is fortunate to have the second location serving their unique thin-crust pizzas, hence the offical “Too” added to their name.  If you are looking for a simple, thin pizza, then you cannot miss out on Fricano’s Too.

You will find Fricano’s Too tucked in between two quaint downtown shops on River Ave, just North of 8th Street.  A couple of things you’ll need to know before you go there.  Fricano’s Too is a tiny little restaurant, mostly a bar.  It is family-friendly, and you’ll regularly see little ones on-site, despite its very pub-like atmosphere.  It tends to get quite busy, so you may have to wait to get your table, but it will be worth it.

The menu is quite simple.  You can have a 12” pizza.  Your pizza will come with any combo of the following toppings:  Pepperoni, mushrooms, Italian sausage, green peppers, and anchovies.  If you like grease, you can order it plain.  Not a fan of grease?  Order it on cardboard to soak up the extra grease.  I happen to love the grease, which is good, cuz’ I almost always forget to order mine on cardboard.  Ensure that you prepare for the delightful grease level by having enough beverages to wash it all down.  A warning about the drinks, though – at Fricano’s Too, you do not get free refills.  Fortunately, a can of soda is reasonably priced, so you can spring for a second if you need it!

Fricano's pizza from second best place to eat in Holland MI
Photo courtesy of online user

Finally, plan to pay with cash.  Fricano’s Too does not take credit cards.  They have accounted for this quite conveniently by placing an ATM right on-site near the register.  I can imagine that ATM gets plenty of use!

The Number One BEST Place to Eat in Holland, Michigan

I have saved the very best for last.  Crazy Horse Steakhouse is not only a local favorite, but also my personal favorite!  I am certainly not alone in ranking Crazy Horse number one on my list.  The West Coast Chamber of Commerce has selected Crazy Horse as the winner of the small business of the year, and for 16 years in a row, Crazy Horse has been voted the Best Steak House and Best Community Presence in Holland. 

When you arrive at Crazy Horse, be sure and listen for the whinny that will greet you upon approaching the front door.  That sound signifies delightful food and excellent service ahead!  The food at Crazy Horse is unparalleled, and so is the service.  The hostess will always greet you with a smile, and I think that is one of my favorite parts of Crazy Horse!

My favorite dish is the Cowboy Ribeye.  The cooks always manage to cook my steak precisely as I order it.  When it comes with that loaded baked potato on the side, it just makes my taste buds happy.  If you’re not into steak, you can indulge in a bit healthier fare with a grilled Norwegian salmon dish that’s just one of several seaside options.  Finally, if you’re looking for ribs that slide off the bone, then you’ve come to the right place.  The only thing I dislike about dining at Crazy Horse is choosing between all of my favorite dishes.

A steak with side of vegetables from Crazy Horse - best place to eat in Holland, Michigan
Photo Courtesy of crazyhorsesteakhouse.com

If you visit at lunchtime, you will get a side of delicious steak fries.  If you’re not into steak fries, be sure and ask for their pasta salad.  Pasta Salad not your thing?  Go for some amazing sweet potato fries that come with the most delightful marshmallow crème dip.  Finally, I must mention Crazy Horse’s most wonderful Chicken Corn Chowder.  There are no words – you just have to try it.  I’m getting hungry just thinking about all of these yummy choices!

Now that we’ve talked about the food at Crazy Horse, I must point out the dollar bills you will see tacked all over the restaurant walls.  Crazy Horse takes pride in giving back to the community and runs multiple fundraisers for local causes throughout the year.  These dollars left on the walls are just a tiny part of the philanthropic efforts Crazy Horse makes in our community.  Currently, with Covid altering our usual way of doing things, the dollar bills are placed in giant glass jars strategically located around the restaurant.  We all hope that someday we will see those dollar bills tacked everywhere again!

There are so many reasons that Crazy Horse is number one!  Check it out, and I’m sure you’ll agree!

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8 Comments

  1. Really enjoyed your article. Was delighted that you included Sperry’s. Such a shame that the Piper is no more. I miss having a drink there viewing the stunning sunsets.

    • Thank you, David! We love Sperry’s – location, food, family-friendly. A perfect addition to our amazing downtown! I also miss the Piper! Thank you for reading!

    • Can you believe I’ve never been to Itty Bitty? Several people have mentioned it, so looks like I need to give it a try! Thanks for the comment, Dan.

  2. Good list Veronica! Although Salt n Pepper would like to have a word with you ;). Their Idaho Nachos rival Cosmik Fries in any App challenge in my opinion. Also curious how you would rank OBI or Itty Bitty, two places where crusty Holland foodies find themselves while migrating to and from the beach. Perhaps a top 10 list is in order lol…

    • I do enjoy Salt n Pepper. I didn’t include it here because “technically” it is in Zeeland. I will check out OBI and Itty Bitty and see how they rank for my next list! Thank you for the comment, Scott!

  3. I enjoyed your article. If visitors to Holland want food the locals love, they should try the Windmill Restaurant downtown. They have wonderful Pigs in a Blanket that Dutch love. Also the quintessential Holland restaurant is Russ’. There is a story that the first Thanksgiving in America the Dutch had the 3 piece Chicken Dinner plus 2 sides from Russ’. Now these places don’t serve the type of food as the wonderful restaurants you mentioned, but these 2 restaurants is where I go to get food that is uniquely Holland.

    • These are great suggestions, Jackie! Thank you for the comment and the reminder of Russ’! We do love Russ’ – they have the best French dressing!

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